SEP 13,2016 - SEP 13,2016 (1 DAYS)
The Old City of Valencia- Ciutat Vella.
Tip 1: From Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim to Plaça del Mercat.
Main Attractions: Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim, Puerta del Mar, Iglesia del Patriarca, Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües (Ceramics Museum), Iglesia de SantoTomás Apostol y San Felipe Neri, Iglesia San Juan del Hospital, Plaça de la Reina, Valencia Cathedral, Santa Catalina Church, Place Redonda, Plaça del Mercat.
Tip 2: From Plaça del Mercat to Plaça de l'Almoina (see tip 2 below).
Start of the day: Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim, End of the day: Plaça de l'Almoina.
We start at Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim. This beautiful square is, also known as El Parterre. It is located at the border between the quarters of San Francisco and Xerea , in the Ciutat Vella district. To the north it borders with the gardens of the Glorieta and the street of Carrer de la Pau (La Paz) ; to the south is Carrer del Pintor Sorrolla. The square is dominated by, a statue of Jaume el Conqueridor (James the Conqueror) , sculpted by Agapit Vallmitjana which stands in the middle of the square.
Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim in the afternoon:Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim in the morning:
From Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim we shall walk eastward along Carrer del Palau de Justícia when the Tribunal Superior de Justicia Sala Civil y Penal is on our right (south) and La Glorieta garden is on our left. La Glorieta garden is home to monuments dedicated to famous Valencian personalities. The most important sculpture of the garden is the Triton, work inspired by a similar one of Bernini:
The square of Alfonso the Magnanimous and the Palace of Justice are the southern border of the Ciutat Vella of Valencia. We advance along Carrer del Palau de Justícia to the Plaza del Marand Porta de la Mar which are the most eastern edge of the Ciutat Vella. The Plaça de la Porta de la Mar connect with SIX main streets in Valencia - all are outside the Ciutat Vella.
The current Puerta del Mar, which is actually the Monument to the Fallen during the Spanish Civil War, is a reproduction of the old Puerta del Real, which rose a short distance, opening the way to the now defunct Royal Palace. It was designed by the Valencian architect Javier Goerlich Lleó, who in 1931 was appointed major architect of the city of Valencia, as a monument to the fallen. It still retains the cross in its main arch, but the plaque in tribute to Generalismo Francisco Franco has been covered.
It has three bays. The central one is higher and culminates in an arc of half point, whereas the lateral ones, of smaller height, are lined. On these there are four reliefs of the sculptor Vicente Navarro Romero , who represent "The value", "The Abnegation", "The Peace" and "The Glory" ("Valor", "La Abnegación", "La Paz" and "La Gloria").
The original door had been opened on the wall in 1356. Reformed several times, the last in neoclassical style in 1843, and finally demolished with the rest of the wall. This door is the one that can be seen in the engravings of Alfred Guesdon .
We change direction and return westward. We'll try to return to the Plaça del Collegio del Patriarca - just to take part in the morning service or, even, in the guided (or free) tour (see our blog on the City of Arts and Sciences - Tip 2). Head northwest on Plaça de la Porta de la Mar toward Carrer del General Palanca. Cross the Glorita Garden and Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim from east to west. Turn left onto Carrer del Verger, 65 m.
Turn right onto Carrer de Bonaire, 15 m. Turn left onto Carrer de la Tertúlia, 40 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Vestuari, 75 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Nau, 100 m to enter the Iglesia del Patriarca on your right.
From the Iglesia Del Patriarca we head north on Carrer de la Creu Nova toward Carrer de les Dames, 110 m. We turn left onto Carrer de la Pau
100 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Marquès de Dos Aigües and the Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües is on your right after 30 m. The Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües is one of the most significant buildings in the Baroque and Rococo city of the city of Valencia and home of the Ceramics Museum . The space in which it is located is believed that was probably originally the field intended to a Roman necropolis of the 1st and 3rd centuries, due to the findings in one of its courtyards. The palace dates also far back as 15th century, although it has been fully re-shaped since then. Home to a Valencian noble family - the Marquis de Dos Aguas, it was originally a Gothic building. In 1740 it was re-shaped to Baroque by Hipolito Rovira, and it is then that the famous entrance was added. The last modification took place in 1850s-60s, when the entire facade was redesigned to a hybrid of newer elements. In 1949 the palace was bought by the Ministry of Education to house the collection of ceramics donated by Dr. Gonzalez Marti.This mansion that was of the Marqueses of Dos Aguas, is currently owned by the Spanish State, where is installed the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts. The palace combines neo-classical, rococco and oriental elements. The unbelievable Baroque entrance to the building never fails to impress the visitors. The rich ornament of the building is enough incentive to come here. The exterior of this palace is an extraordinary. Price: 3 euros.
Inside, however, more marvel awaits you - the fully furbished interior of the palace and the best of ceramics that Valencia had to offer through the centuries. Two upper floors are devoted to ceramics. Valencia claims to have been a centre for the production of pottery and earthenware in the middle ages and beyond. The focus starts with Roman artifacts. It moves to the Moorish period and early Christian. Then, century by century from 15th through 20th. The first floor is a palace, fully furnished. Several rooms are stunning. Some public rooms and bedrooms are beautifully preserved. Phenomenal ceilings. Luxurious floor and wall coverings. Beautiful period furniture all bear witness to the immense wealth of the family. There is also an interesting reproduction of a 19th century, below-stairs kitchen. A really beautiful place. The staff are very relaxed and there is some information in English. Well worth a visit. Allow about 60-90 minutes.
Old Carriages in the Ceramics Museum:
Dormitorio del Marques in the Ceramics Museum:
Floor 1 - Sala Roja:
Ceiling of Sala Roja:
Floor 1 - Sala Pompeyana:
Floor 1 - Salon de Barli:
Floor 1 - Ceiling of Salon de Barli:
Ceramics Panels in the Palace Balcon:
Floor 1 - Fumoir:
Floor 1 - A picture in Sala Gotica:
Floor 2 - Ceramica Panels:
Floor 2 - Ceramics:
Head north on Carrer del Marquès de Dos Aigües toward Carrer de la Pau, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Pau, 40 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Ruiz de Lihory, 45 m. In the corner of C. del Mar and C. de Lihory resides an interesting store of textile - Indumentaria Dos Aguas:
From the intersection of C. del Mar and C. de Lihory - continue east on Carrer del Mar toward Carrer de Sant Cristòfol, 95 m. At Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, take the 2nd exit onto Carrer del Comte de Montornés, 95 m. to face the Iglesia de Santo Tomás Apostol y San Felipe Neri. This church is also known as "The Congregation". It was built in 1725 and it stands out for the simplicity of its design. The church's architectural model corresponds to and resembles the "Il Gesú" church in Rome. It consists of a central nave divided into three parts and various side chapels. It really is an interesting church to visit, though you may do so only during masses services: MON-SAT: 09.00, 10.30, 19.30 20.30, SUN: 09.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 19.00.
From Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer we walk northward along Calle Trinquete de Caballero and at #5 we se, on our left the Iglesia San Juan del Hospital. San Juan del Hospital Church is one of the oldest churches in Valencia. It was built in the 13th century on land donated by Jaime I to the Military Order of the Knights: the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem (now Order of Malta). The king also built a hospital, a convent and a cemetery. It is a building that mainly combines Romanesque, Valencian and Baroque Gothic style. The church, built around 1261, as a Baroque-style building, has a single nave covered with a pointed barrel vault.
Inside, you may contemplate the magnificent chapel of Santa Barbara, where are the remains of Constanza Augusta, Empress of Greece, and other chapels with painted murals from the Gothic period, discovered recently:
350 m. walk further west will bring us to Placa de la Reina. Head south on Carrer del Trinquet de Cavallers toward Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, 55 m. At Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, take the 1st exit onto Carrer del Mar
260 m. Turn right onto Plaça de la Reina. Plaza de la Reina is one of the oldest and busiest plazas in Valencia and the city’s epic centre and beating heart. It is situated in the heart of the Ciutat Vella. and marks the Kilometer 0. It is NOT the usual picturesque Spanish square you’re probably expecting to see, but is an excellent base for exploring the city.
It is bounded by the Cathedral and its bell tower (the Miquelet) in the north,
and Plaza Santa Catalina with its charming Iglesia de Santa Catalina and its impressive towerin the south west:
The center of the PLaca de la Reina plays host to a small patch filled with flowers and benches, where visitors can take a break and watch the world go by:
The busy plaza is filled with restaurants and bars. Good area to walk around or stop for a bite to eat or drink. Taxis and buses hog the road. A small park has market stalls with tourist fare. A lot of hassle and bustle. Noting in the square itself is impressive. The square is lined with an excellent selection of cafes, terraces, and restaurants, including one of the oldest (200 years old) and most renowned cafeterias in Valencia (Horchateria de Santa Catalina).
Valencia Cathedral (Valencian: Església Catedral-Basílica Metropolitana de l'Assumpció de la Nostra Senyora de València) was consecrated in 1238. It was built over the site of the former Visigothic cathedral, which under the Moors had been turned into a mosque. The Valencian Gothic is the predominant architectural style of the cathedral, although it also contains Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical elements. Variety of architectural styles, from the Romanesque to the Baroque, can be reflected inn the three main doors of the cathedral. The main door, or Puerta de los Hierros ("Door of the Irons"), is Baroque:
The Puerta de los Apóstoles is Gothic:
The Puerta del Palau is Romanesque:
The Miguelete belfry was built in the 13th and 14th centuries and was designed by Andrés Juliá Torre; it is octagonal, 50.85m high and built in a markedly Baroque style, next to the main entrance.
Bell Tower, "Micalet" or "Miquelet":
There is a spiral stairway inside (207 stairs) that leads to the terrace, where there are views of the city, the countryside and the sea:
Opening hours: NOV-MAR: MON - SAT: 10.00 - 17.30 pm. Sundays - closewd. APR - OCT: MON - SAT: 10.00 - 18.30, SUN: 14.00 - 18.30. During April, May and September closing time is 17.30 on weekends due to the 18.00 Mass at the Main Altar. Prices: €7- adult, €4 - groups members, €5.50 - pensioners, disabled people and children up to 12 years old. Try to come after closing time and the Cathedral is often still open and FREE. Come on Sundays when it is open and FREE. DO NOT walk around during Mass times !
Inside, the cathedral contains numerous 15th-century paintings, some by local artists (such as Jacomart), others by artists from Rome engaged by the Valencian Pope Alexander VI who, when still a cardinal, made the request to upgrade the Valencian See to the rank of metropolitan see, a category granted by Pope Innocent VIII in 1492. The Santo Cáliz Chapel, the old Sala Capitular y de Estudios (1356) was originally a Chapter House and study and was separate from the cathedral. The Holy Chalice that according to tradition was used by Christ during the last Supper is kept inside. The "Obra Nova" or "Balconets de Cabildo" were built over three floors next to the cathedral dome and they dominate the Plaza de la Virgen. It was a renaissance work of a triple serlienne arcade.
Dome of the Cathedral of Valencia:
The chapel of the Holy Grail (Chalice) is almost in the end of the guided tour (no. 16 ?). The Chapel of the Holy Chalice is in the south-east corner of the cathedral. It was built by Bishop Vidal de Blanes in the 14th century to serve as a chapter house and burial place for bishops and monks.It was also intended to hold theology classes. It is three metres square and 16 metres high. Note the magnificent cross ribs in the shape of a star on its ceiling:
The Holy Grail (Santo Caliz) is believed to had been left in the house where the Last Supper took place - a house belonging to the family of St Mark the Evangelists, who later took it to Rome when he went to serve as an interpreter for St Peter. Passed on within the church and used as Papal Chalice, the relic was shipped out of Rome in 3rd century by St Lawrence, in anticipation of a persecution. It was taken out of Rome in the hands of a Spanish soldier to Huesca, Spain. During the Muslim occupation of the Iberic peninsula, the Grail went into hiding and later re-emerged in various Spanish monasteries and cathedrals. The Kings of Spain looked after it, on occasions taking it into their treasuries or palaces, until it was finally presented to the Valencia Cathedral in XV century, where it remained ever since. It briefly left the Cathedral only twice, both times during the 1930s Civil War, for fears of plunder. The Holy Grail (Chalice) of Valencia arouses feelings of admiration and skepticism at the same time. The visitor feels captivated by the beauty of the Grail, its perfect and exceptional shape, the details in gold, the pearls and the precious gems. The observer comes with the mind full of legends, films, even warned by the novels and pseudo-scientific literature. It was the official papal chalice for many popes, and has been used by many others, most recently by Pope Benedict XVI, on July 9, 2006. Most Christian historians all over the world declare that all their evidence points to this Valencian grail/chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper. But, is this grail of medieval appearance the grail of the Last Supper ? The Holy Chalice of the Gospels got mixed up with medieval pursuits of a “Holy Grail” around the time of 13th century Arthurian legends. The “grail” was considered, in different tales, as either a bowl or dish, a platter, or sometimes even just a stone. It was said to have mystical powers of spiritual or material abundance, grace, or eternal youth, and stories of the grail were eventually grafted onto the goblet of the Bible. The Holy Chalice became the Holy Grail, and vice versa. One fact is doubtless: it is difficult to see and take photos of the Holy Grail itself, its details and to step close to this sensational artifact: it is guarded behind glass and, frequently, attracts crowds of visitors around:
Main Chapel, Valencia Cathedral, Valencia:
The Valencia Cathedral is situated in the north side of Placa de la Reina. We shall cross the square from north to south.
The Cathedral Bell Tower (Micalet) - a view from the centre of the square:
The south side of Placa de la Reina is dominated by the Santa Catalina Church which is one of the oldest in Valencia. The church dates from the Middle Ages (13th century, probably from year 1239), and is built on the site of a former mosque. It is the only Gothic church in the city with a retrochoir in the transept, the same as you will find in the Cathedral. A large part of the building was rebuilt in the 16th century after being destroyed by a fire. The eighteenth century Baroque tower housing the belfry is possibly the most notable element, standing out from the rest of the building. The bell tower, for its part, is in Baroque style. It dates from the 17th century and is the monument's most outstanding feature. It is hexagonal, with five levels, and is topped by a niche and a small dome. The two bell towers: THe Cathedral's Micalet and the Santa Catalina one are, according to popular legend, husband and wife. Open: daily 11.00 - 13.00. FREE:
The church is composed of three naves with side chapels, crosspiece domes and the apse which includes a chapel. Part of its Baroque decor had lost during the Civilians War:
Inside, we have, basically, genuine Old Gothic space with coloured windows:
Santa Catalina Tower marks the entrance to the well-known Mercat neighbourhood:
The square west to Santa Catalina church is Plaza de Santa Catalina (Plaça de Santa Caterina). Here resides Horchateria Santa Catalina: lovely Valencian cafe, not what you would expect from the modest outside. A great place to try local specialities - horchata with fartons (a sweet, Valencian drink made from pressed chufas (type of nuts), into which you dip finger-shaped buns called fartóns). The price is approximztely €3.
From the Plaça de Santa Caterina head west toward Carrer dels Jofrens
45 m. Continue onto Carrer de la Sombrerería, 40 m. Turn left onto Plaça de Lopez de la Vega, 20 m. Head southeast on Plaça de Lopez de la Vega toward Carrer del Trench, 20 m. Turn left to stay on Plaça de Lope de Vega, 5 m. You arrived to Plaça Redona (Plaza Redonda) (The Round Square). Place Redonda (Round Square). One of Valencia’s most unique tourist attractions and most enchanting spots due to its peculiar design. Constructed by Salvador Escrig Melchor in 1840. Restored in year 2012. Surrounded by traditional craft shops and tapas bars at street level. A CHARMING SQUARE !! Many stalls that sell lace, silk, embroidery, fabrics and Valencian souvenirs (fantastic, colorful fans !), among other things. Four streets converge together into this round square to form colorful and welcoming site. You can see, from the fountain in the square's centre, a beautiful view of the bell tower of Santa Catalina Church. It stands high over the five stories of the round tower. It was built in 1840 by Salvador Escrig and was the place for local families to come and buy their fish and meat. One of the inlets to the square is called ‘Street of fish’. It is traditionally known as ‘el clot’ which means ‘the hole’. A recent revamp includes a circular covering, creating a cool environment for shoppers to come and enjoy the shade, the history and the ancient fountain at its centre – a perfect spot for sitting in the sun:
Head southwest on Plaza Redonda, 25 m. Turn left to stay on Plaza Redonda, 16 m. Turn right onto Carrer dels Drets, 110 m. Turn left onto Carrer d'Ercilla, 65 m. Turn right onto Plaça del Mercat (Plaza Mercado), 50 m. A beautiful square where you find the Mercado Central (Mercat Central), the central market hall in modernista style, and outdoor market, La Lonja de la Seda (presented in its own section) and beautiful buildings painted in splendid colours, some in art nouvau style. Mercado Central, built in 1914 is one of the oldest European markets still running. It was designed by the modernista architects Francesc Guàrdia i Vial and Alexandre Soler. About 400 merchants have their stalls (over 1000 according to some sources). it is very impressive and beautiful. The market is open 07.30 - 14.30. Sundays closed. At the square you also find the Gothic church Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, also known as San Juan del Mercado (St John's of the Market). The original gothic interior from the 14th century was destroyed in a terrible fire in 1552 (unfortunately it wasn't open during our visit).
inside you can find almost whatever in the more than 1000 selling posts: fresh fish, vegetables, meat, fruit... You must go inside to feel the atmosphere of the market, and being surrounded by the smells and colours of this place. Try to visit in the morning, as early as possible...:
This place like this makes one realize how bland the food shopping experience has become back hom:
We ate our lunch at Galle de Oro restaurant opposite the main entrance to the market hall. Busy, quality, generous and delicious food. We found it a value for money. But, remember it is very busy:
The Old City of Valencia- Ciutat Vella:
Tip 2: From Plaça del Mercat to Plaça de l'Almoina.
Main Attractions: La Lonja de la Seda, Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, Plaça de l'Ajuntament, laça del Tossal, Parroquia de San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir, Plaça de la Verge, Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados, Plaça de l'Almoina.
We ended Tip 1 in Restaurante El Gallo De Oro in the south side of Valencia Central Market. We head, now, to La Lonja de la Seda in the north-east side of the Central Market of Valencia. With our face to the market - turn right toward Plaça del Mercat, 10 m. Walk for 60 m. Head northeast still along Plaça del Mercat and take the stairs for 20 m. Turn left onto Plaça del Mercat, 25 m (or along Avinguda Maria Christinia):
Turn right onto Carrer de Pere Compte Mestre en el Noble Art de la Pedra and La Lonja de la Seda, Carrer de la Llotja, 2 will . This commercial building was founded in 1469 as a market for oil - but, mainly, built between 1482 and 1548. The design was derived from a similar structure in Palma de Mallorca. The architects were Pedro Compte, Juan Yvarra, and Johan Corbera. It was not until 1498 that the tower and the flamboyant Gothic trading hall were completed, and the whole complex was finished in 1533. The building became a symbol for the Golden Age of Valencia, when it was one of the great Mediterannean mercantile cities. During subsequent centuries, La Lonja functioned as a maritime trading centre and a silk exchange:
Opening hours: MON-SAT: 09.30 - 19.00. SUN: 09.30 - 15.00. Prices: €2 adult, €1 - groups, students, pensioners, large families. Free entry on Sundays and public holidays. la Lonja is composed of three parts (plus the Orange Garden - a walled court-yard). The main hall, Sala de Contratacion (The Contract Hall) is a large lavishly decorated space supported by gorgeous twisted columns. This was the financial centre of La Lonja, where the merchants worked out contracts. It looks like the interior of a cathedral, as the wealthy merchants decided to emulate the religious symbolism because their trade was looked down upon. The large, spiralled columns that dominate this hall represent palm trees: the columns used to be painted brown, their tops green and the ceiling sky blue:
The side-wing is named the Pavilion of the Consulate(2nd floor), and this was the seat of the Tribunal del Mar - the first marine merchant tribunal to ever be formed in Spain:
The reason it was inscribed on the UNESCO list is because it is one of the best examples in the world of secular Gothic architecture, and was used for its original purpose for more than 500 years.
La Lonja de la Seda stands on the north-east side of Avinguda Maria Christina. Opposite it, on the south-west side of the avenue stands San Juan del Mercado Church or, better, in Valencian: Iglesia de los Santos Juanes. The church was originally built on the site of an old mosque in 1240. It was rebuilt in the 14th and 16th after being damaged by fire in year 1552. Its Baroque style dates back to the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th centuries. Exterior reforms began in 1700. The main façade, looking out on the Plaza del Mercado and facing the Lonja, and has become a meeting point, it was given special attention creating a reredos in which the central figure of the Virgen del Rosario stands out. The church's triangular campanile (bell tower), is with a clock and topped with statues of saints. The ‘campana i horari’ clock is located in the centre. The church is classified as a National Historic and Artistic Monument. Opposite the facade, facing the Market Square, stands the central sculpture of the Virgen del Rosario by Jacopo Bertesi .The church exteriors are very ornamental. It is nice to walk around the church and and look at all these beautiful decorations. The entrance is from the NORTH side. Opening hours: unclear. Most of the time the church is closed. It is written on the north entrance door that the church is open: MON-FRI: 08.00, 10.00, 12.00. Prices: 3 euros.
Inside, DO NOT MISS the frescoes painted by Antonio Palomino. They cover the vaults of the church and the presbytery. There are frescoes that show the Inmaculada with the Moon under her feet, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, the Patriarchs, the Glory of the Sacred Trinity, the saints of the Apocalypse, San Vicente Ferrer, and the choirs of the Virgins and the Patriarchs. The interiors are bombastically spectacular. The frescoes are EXTRAORDINARY !
From the Iglesia de los Santos Juanes we head west on Carrer Vell de la Palla, 45 m. Turn left onto Av. del Baró de Càrcer, 300 m. Turn left onto Carrer de les Garrigues, 160 m. Continue onto Carrer de la Sang, 110 m and turn right onto Plaça de l'Ajuntament (Plaza de l'Ayuntamiento). Plaça de l'Ajuntament (Plaza de l'Ayuntamiento). The grandiose Plaza del Ayuntamiento is the main square in Valencia. The Town Hall Square hosts some of the most representative administrative buildings in Valencia, Plaza del Ayuntamiento features an outstanding mix of Spanish architectural styles. Dominating the square are the stunning neoclassical Town Hall (Ayuntamiento). The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento de Valencia), the most famous building at the square, was built in the 18th century in baroque style. It has served as Valencia's city hall since 1934. It is a very beatiful white building, but when the sun doesn't shine on it the facade looks more grey/yellow. Also, residing in the square is the magnificent Central Post Office (Edificio de Correos), designed by architect Miguel Angel Navarro in a beautiful eclectic style that combines striking Modernista (Art Deco, Art Nouveau) features with lavish Baroque-inspired interiors. In the center lies a sparkling fountain surrounded by flowers and greenery, and illuminated by multicolored lights at night. The plaza is a popular meeting point for Valencians and is often filled with stalls selling wonderful flowers, a local tradition that dates back to 1924.
The west side of the square
View from the north side of the square (where Carrer de Sant Vicent Màrtir ends):
From the Plaza of the City Hall of Valencia - head NORTH on Plaça de l'Ajuntament toward Carrer de la Sang, 280 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Vicent Màrtir, 20 m. Turn right onto Avinguda de María Cristina,
120 m. Continue onto Plaça del Mercat, 270 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Bosseria, 120 m:
Continue straight onto Plaça del Tossal. In Muslim times this space was part of the wall that closed the city, as evidenced by the remains found with the redevelopment of the square that have been converted into a museum by the city council. With the demolition of the Muslim wall and the expansion of the city's space, this plaza became an urban intersection, joining Calle Caballeros full with stately mansions, Calle Bolsería that leads to Mercado Central and Carrer del Quart, an axis of the district of Carmen toward the river Turia:
Placa d'Lespart / Sant Jaume near Placa del Tossal:
From Plaça del Tossal it is 180 m. to Parroquia de San Nicolás. Head north on Plaça del Tossal toward Carrer dels Cavallers, 20 m. Turn right onto Carrer dels Cavallers, 110 m. Turn a bit right onto Carrer de l'Abadia de Sant Nicolau and the Parroquia de San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir is on your left. WE FOUND THIS CHURCH AS ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR SIGHTS OF VALENCIA !!! Unbelievable marvel. The church has recently been restored, revealing a pictorial display that experts have called the Valencian "Sistine Chapel". Its restoration has been classified as "the most important architectural and pictorial-ornamental work ever carried out anywhere in the world due to the scale of the work and the techniques used", and you can now visit the church with or without a guided tour. The level of the restoration has been compared to that of the Sistine Chapel. It's beauty comes from the painted ceiling, really comparable to that in the Sistine Chapel. It's one of the most fascinating wall paintings I've ever seen and we would clearly recommend visiting it ! This amazing Church that is covered in frescoes from top to bottom. No centimeter is without paintings. The frescoes were discovered by accident and hidden under centuries of various decorating trends by the Catholic Church. The restoration took several years and brought back to it's glory. Allow 30-45v minutes for exploring this fantastic church. The church was founded in the 13th century, with a layout that includes a single-nave with six chapels. The church was refurbished in Gothic style in the 15th century, and includes a rose window depicting the miracle of Saint Nicholas. The gate, which overlooks the square of San Nicolás, however, is a neo-gothic 19th-century recreation. In this door there is a plaque regarding the prediction of Saint Vincent Ferrer that Alfonso de Borja would become Pope and then would canonize him. Erected as a parish church around 1242, Parroquia de San Nicolás was remodeled at the initiative of the Borja family in the Gothic style between 1419 and 1455. Every Monday the Church of San Nicolás de Bari receives hundreds of visitors who make the “Walks of Saint Nicholas” or Devotion to San Judas Tadeo (Saint Jude Thaddaeus), patron of impossible causes. Open: OCT-JUN: Mondays - closed. TUE-FRI: 10.30 - 19.00, SAT: 11.00 - 18.30, SUN: 13.00 - 19.00. JUL-SEP: Mondays - closed. TUE-FRI: 10.30 - 21.00, SAT: 10. 30 - 19.30, SUN: 11.30 - 21.00. Prices: 5 euros - adult, 4 euros - concessions:
The interior of the church was completed between 1690-1693, and was decorated by Juan Pérez Castiel in Baroque fashion. It has frescoes, depicting the lives of San Nicola and Peter of Verona, along with virtues and allegories, designed by Antonio Palomino and completed by Dionis Vidal. The chapel altarpieces include works by Juan de Juanes, Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, Jerónimo Jacinto de Espinosa, and José Vergara Gimeno:
We exit the Parroquia de San Nicolás from its northern exit (if it is open) and continuealong Carrer dels Caballeros EASTWARD - passing: Carrer d'Alvarez, Carrer de Mendoza and Carrer de Calatrava on our right.
On our left, in Carrer dels Cavallers - stands Placa de Manises (Plaza de Manises) with the Palau de la Generalitat Valenicana (Palace of the Generality) - a very important government building. Palau de Generalitat is the seat of the Valencian Autonomous Region government, an imposing castle-like structure blending the late Gothic and Renaissance architecture with Moorish themes:
The sculpture, in the square centre, is by the sculptor Pío Mollar Franch, and represents the conqueror Francisco Pizarro and it is a homage to the 'Spanish race' that the Franco regime inaugurated in 1969:
We enter Barrio del Carmen. This district represents like no one Valencia's way of living, if you don't know it you don't know the city. Here you'll find numerous shops, café-theaters, bars, restaurants, flower-stands, ... it is the center of everyday life and a unique scenery for the visitor. Continue onto Carrer de la Batlia, 55 m. Continue straight onto Plaça de la Mare de Déu, 55 m. Turn right onto Plaça de la Verge (Plaza de la Virgin). Plaza de la Virgin dominates one end of the spectrum as the counterweight to the City of Arts and Sciences. It is seen by many as the ultimate impression of the traditional Valencia of the past centuries. Plaza de la Virgin used to be the main square of Valencia, right from the Roman origins to the day when Plaza de Ayuntamento came into full swing at the turn of the 20th century. It is still a very active place, with most of the city traditional events passing through here. The irresistible charm of the square is figured on many postcards and all the tourists agree that it is simply the best view for having a coffee on one of the summer terraces. The Plaza breathes with history, hosting two buildings of huge importance to Valencians. Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados) on the eastern side (note: on the western side is the Gothic Palau de la Generalitat) and the rear side of the Cathedral of valencia. This squar has been since the Roman times. The Plaza de la Virgen sits on the site that once was the forum of Roman Valencia. The current look began forming in 13th century with the construction of the Cathedral, the portal of the Apostles finished in the first third of 14th century. In the 15th century the Palau de Generalitat was built (then a tax office for the Crown) and, finally, in 17th century - the Basilica. In the beginning of the 20th century the old City Hall in front of the Palau was taken down and a garden built in its place.
Plaza de la Virgin is surrounded by impressive buildings and home to lots of pigeons. Also in the square there are some cafes with plenty of outside seating for the must-have people watching:
In the centre of the square is a fabulous fountain which represents the irrigation of the Turia River. We recommend to sit at the edge of the fountain for a while and watch kids chase the pigeons, enjoying the sense of community in the square:
Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Abandoned) is dedicated to the patron saint of the city and is the most important religious building in Valencia from the 17th century (or the second most important religious structure after the Cathedral). Built between 1652 and 1667 by Diego Martínez Ponce de Urrana, it is the only church in the old part of the city that was built new from the foundations up, and not on an existing parish church or convent. It was also the first new Baroque construction of its time. The blue-tiled dome is not central but located in the part nearer to the Cathedral. The side-chapel is in the Baroque style and was one of the first to be built in Spain. The side-chapel is dedicated to the adoration of an image of the Virgin and is accessed by a staircase. It is host to the hugely revered statue of Virgen of the Forsaken - the patron saint of Valencia. The Lady of the Forsaken is always holding a lily in one hand. In the other hand she is holding the baby Jesus carrying the Cross in his arms. She is called the Geperudeta (hunchback). Her image is housed in the 'Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados'. The basilica which now houses the image of 'Our Lady' was built on the site of a Roman temple. There are various supernatural myths about this statue. A renaissance arch leads from the Basilica on Plaza de la Virgen to Valencia cathedral.
The colorful exterior has 5 entrances but the door near the archway connecting the cathedral has 8 bronze panels with relevant religious scenes:
The interior is also very worth seeing. Antonio Palomino (1653 - 1726) painted the frescoes on the dome of the nave:
Inside the Basilica there is a Gothic style statue of The Virgin with two children at her feet. A mechanical device allows the statue to revolve. Everything inside revolves (...) around the statue of the Virgin, a Gothic sculpture with the head leaning slightly to one side, and covered with a robe and jewels. In the XVIII century, the two innocents who are at her feet were added.
Plaça de l'Almoina is adjacent to the Basilica (east to the Basilica). It was the main square of the Roman city from 138 a. C. , where the forum was located. There was the first visigothic basilica, later converted into a mosque and later into a Christian temple. Today it is a newly restored square and under it is an important archaeological site that can be visited. After the reconquest was given the name of Plaza de la Fruita ( fruit ) and Plaza de la Llenya ( wood ), by the markets that were installed in it. Here resides the Museum of the Almoina , because under this place is the largest archaeological site of Valencia. The Almoina was a medieval institution of charitable character that distributed food and allowed the material sustenance among the most needy of the city. Almoina in Valencian means alms.
The architectural structure that surrounds the archaeological complex allows the walker through the city to have direct visual contact with the ruins that are thus incorporated into the urban landscape. These windows also allow to perceive from certain points inside the archaeological site the exterior spaces favoring the dialogue between the archaeological remains and their immediate surroundings. In the year 1985 during archeological works remnants of ancient civilizations were discovered: part of the Roman road, a chapel and Arabic saunas. And these is the small fraction of artifacts found at this square. In the center of the square there is an archeological museum L'Almoina that has a form of a pool. The remnants of the Roman artifacts are buried under a thick layer of water:
On the first floor behind glass, one can see ceramics: